As the brand that started the ride sharing phenomenon, Uber has been valued at a staggering $70 billion, even if some analysts like tech investor Roger McNamee view such valuations as too optimistic. Regardless, what is clear is that Uber has dramatically changed much of the country’s transportation options since its founding in March of 2009.
As Uber and its ride sharing competitors have continued to gain more market share, increasingly more riders rely on Uber for their transportation needs. Despite the convenience of these services, victims of an Uber accident ought to know that the independent contractor status of drivers adds an element of legal complexity for victims who are injured in an Uber accident.
Here are the facts to keep in mind regarding Uber accidents and the legal action that victims can take if injured in an auto accident while an Uber driver is behind the wheel.
Facts About Uber
Uber itself has long heralded ride sharing as a key component to increasing public safety on the roads. The company has made a number of arguments to bolster this point, from claiming that Uber can reduce drinking and driving to touting its self-driving cars as a way to reduce manmade driving errors.
Studies and reports complicate such assertions, however. Data compiled by the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber drivers were involved in more deadly crashes in New York City than yellow cab drivers, but it must be said that Uber claims these findings are “inaccurate”.
Even so, an American Journal of Epidemiology study found that there has been no noticeable impact in drunk driving fatalities in cities where Uber provides ride sharing services. In effect, these findings provide a dramatic evidence-based rebuttal to Uber’s longstanding claim that ride sharing cuts down on drunk driving and its associated harms.
Uber’s self-driving cars have also been involved in accidents where laws were violated, showing that even self-driving cars are not without safety risks at present.
The Legal Complexity of Uber Accidents
While Uber provides $1 million in liability coverage and also requires its drivers to carry personal insurance, it can be difficult for personal injury victims to receive compensation for injuries. Even though you are entitled to compensation as an Uber passenger, pursuing compensation can be difficult due to the fact Uber drivers are viewed as independent contractors, not employees.
From a legal vantage point, this tactic can be used by Uber to argue that a third-party driver hit by an Uber driver or even a passenger does not have a legal case against Uber itself. If such an argument succeeds, this would mean Uber could avoid paying out claims to victims under its $1 million liability coverage policy.
Given the relatively new status of ride sharing, however, there is not a great deal of existing legal precedent on these cases. Different courts have arrived at different conclusions as to whether Uber should be held accountable, depending on the facts of the case.
Due to this relative legal uncertainty, it is all the more important that Uber accident victims choose an Uber accident attorney capable of helping victims receive the compensation they deserve from Uber.
Our Uber Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
Anyone injured in an Uber accident should take the same first steps that are important in any accident. Namely, accident victims should:
- File a police report
- Collect evidence and take photographs at the accident scene
- Seek medical attention and make sure your medical issues are thoroughly and properly documented
These steps will give our team the information needed to build a strong case that fights for you and protects your legal interests. Understand that companies like Uber will try to limit their liability and avoid paying you the compensation, even if you are legally entitled to receive it.
The Ledger Law Firm fights for victims to ensure that Uber is held responsible for accidents when the facts show they should be held liable for your injuries. Contact us online to discuss your Uber accident and take the first step toward receiving the compensation and justice you deserve.
Ride sharing services like Lyft utilize an online or mobile platform that connects customers in need of a ride with drivers who use their private car to get passengers to their destination. The convenience of getting a ride quickly and affordably has helped Lyft raise $1 billion in funding at an $11 billion valuation in October 2017.
The rise of Lyft and similar ride sharing services also means more private cars driving for ride sharing services. Here are the facts to know about Lyft and the legal action accident victims can take if they are injured as a ride sharing passenger.
Facts About Lyft
It is worth mentioning at the outset that Lyft and similar ride sharing services can potentially make our roads safer, particularly when it comes to drinking and driving. With the rise of ride sharing, intoxicated individuals who may otherwise have been tempted to drive can use their smartphone to get home safely without endangering others.
However, aside from reducing drinking and driving, one study on New York accidents — a major ride sharing hub — found that ride sharing services were involved in more deadly accidents than traditional taxis.
Further, thousands of ride sharing drivers have been banned from the driving service for various infractions, many of which included driving infractions. In Massachusetts alone, thousands of Lyft drivers were banned for failing to pass the state’s background check. The most common reason for the bans were driver’s license suspensions, indicating that these services are still having issues with properly vetting the drivers providing transportation.
Legal Requirements for Lyft Drivers
Lyft drivers are required to be 21 years of age and have an iPhone or Android phone before going through an approval process that includes:
- DMV, national and county background checks dating back to a period of at least seven years
- Automatic bans for drivers who have committed violent crimes, sexual offenses or have drug related convictions
- Ownership of a private vehicle that passes a 19-point inspection and any applicable city and state requirements
Even with these safeguards in place, ride sharing accidents can and do happen. When accidents arise, the uncertainty of a ride sharing accident can leave passengers unclear about their options for pursuing legal compensation or determining liability.
How Liability Is Determined in a Ride Sharing Accident?
Lyft drivers are not considered employees, meaning they are simply a user of the platform just like the passenger. This complicates determining who is liable in a Lyft accident. However, Lyft drivers are also required to be a covered party on their vehicle’s auto insurance policy, and Lyft itself has a $1 million policy for car accidents that occur from the time when a driver accepts a ride and when the ride ultimately concludes.
Determining whether the company or driver is responsible can be complex, as Lyft has been known to claim in lawsuits that it only controls the app that connects passengers with drivers. In effect, the company argues that since their drivers are independent contractors and not employees, the drivers alone are liable for injuries and damages caused while transporting riders.
Our Lyft Accident Lawyers Represent Victims of Ride Sharing Accidents
As you can see, the relatively new industry that is ride sharing has legal complexities involved that require a team of dedicated Lyft accident attorneys who help accident victims navigate these issues.
The Ledger Law Firm will review your case and build a strong case on your behalf based on evidence. To this end, it is in the best interests of your case to file a police report, take photographs/collect evidence at the accident scene, and seek medical attention that is properly documented.
With this information, our team of attorneys will be able to fight for you and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your Lyft accident. Contact us online to discuss the facts of your case and receive the legal counsel you need from a Lyft accident lawyer today.